Turkey’s Garanti BBVA commercial bank launches crypto wallet service

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Garanti BBVA has launched a cryptocurrency wallet for its customers in Turkey. This new service enables users to buy, sell, and store Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and USD Coin (USDC) securely.

Garanti BBVA’s crypto offering 

Garanti BBVA Digital Assets, a subsidiary of Garanti BBVA Financial Technologies Inc., now provides a crypto wallet service on its mobile platform, Garanti BBVA Crypto.

This development marks a first in Turkey, with a bank subsidiary independently creating and launching a cryptocurrency wallet.

The team says its customers can now transfer and store Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and USD Coin (USDC) on the platform.

Garanti BBVA’s launch of this crypto wallet is part of its strategy to remain at the forefront of the rapidly changing fintech industry. The bank says it has been engaged with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency services for several years, acknowledging their potential to revolutionize the financial sector.

The wallet, available on the App Store for iOS users, provides enhanced security features and digital payment capabilities.

Garanti BBVA Executive Vice President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of BBVA Digital Assets, Çağrı Süzer, announced that the team successfully conducted pilot studies for the new service. 

Süzer noted that the Garanti BBVA Crypto app, initially available in beta for a limited number of customers, is now accessible to all users. He added that while the app currently supports BTC, ETH, and USDC cryptocurrencies, the bank plans to expand its range of assets and enhance its service infrastructure in the future.

Garanti BBVA’s introduction of a crypto wallet meets Turkey’s rising demand for cryptocurrency services. 

Crypto adoption rises, but challenges abound

In 2022, the cryptocurrency market saw a notable increase in theft, with hackers stealing over $3.8 billion worth of digital assets. This rise underscores the critical need for secure custodians of crypto assets. 

Traditional banks have begun offering these services, providing customers with a reliable and secure platform to manage their digital assets.

The recent surge in hacking activities has deeply impacted the cryptocurrency market, resulting in significant investor losses and prompting regulators to advocate for enhanced consumer safeguards.

According to a report by Chainalysis, decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols emerged as the main targets, constituting 82.1% of all stolen cryptocurrency. Cross-chain bridge protocols were especially susceptible due to their creation of centralized pools of funds, which hackers could exploit.

The cryptocurrency market has been plagued by several high-profile heists, hack incidents, and fraudulent activities, leading to substantial losses for investors and exchanges. 

According to a report from Immunefi, hacking incidents account for 95% of all cryptocurrency theft, while the remaining losses are due to fraud and other scams. 

In response, traditional banks are repositioning themselves as trustworthy custodians of crypto assets. By offering these custodial services, banks aim to give customers a secure platform for handling their digital assets.

In January, Binance traders were given the option to custody their assets with regulated Swiss institutions like Sygnum Bank and Flow Bank. This marked a shift from the previous practice of storing assets either directly on the Binance exchange or with lesser-known entities.

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